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Wednesday, 26 November 1941

Mr DUNCAN-HUGHES (Wakefield) . - I wish to make representations to the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) in particular, and to the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin) and the Minister for Air (Mr. Drakeford), regarding the notification of fatal casualties to parents of members of the fighting forces. This matter has caused grave dissatisfaction in a number of places, chiefly in country districts. In the cities, it may be easy for notification of deaths on active service to be given directly to the bereaved parents. But the position is calamitous in rural districts where notifications are sometimes delayed for days. I know of an instance at Orroroo in which the telegram notifying a couple of their son's death did not come into their hands until two days after it had been received at the post office. This sort of thing should not be allowed to happen. When a fatal casualty occurs the intimation should go direct to the parents, even if this should involve sending a special messenger into the country. The least that we can do, when a member of our fighting services is killed, is to notify his parents first. 1 brought this matter to the notice of the Minister for the Army on another occasion, and he said that the formation of local committees had been suggested, but that these had failed to operate. That being so, the Government should take a hand in the matter, and remove all causes of delay.

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